Updated: Muslim Leaders Join in Condemnation of ISIS

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On August 8, the Oriental Bishops called on Islamic leaders to issue Fatwas against the genocide committed against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq by the group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

So far as I know, there has been no Fatwa against genocide. I found one Fatwa issued against ISIS by Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is said to be Iraq’s most influential religious leader. Ayatollah Sistani called for a Fatwa urging Iraqis to fight against ISIS. However, I believe that this particular FATWA was aimed at defending Shia Muslims against Sunni Muslims. I do not think it addressed the slaughter of Christians and Yazidis.

I don’t know anything about either Fatwas or the arguments between various branches of Islam. I am only quoting what I have read. So this could be wrong. ISIS itself issued a charming Fatwa in favor of rape, but nothing else from religious leaders.

On August 8, the Indonesia Ulem Council Issued a Fatwa against ISIS. Again, it was not against the genocide or the barbaric actions of ISIS. The Fatwa seemed to be based on the potential ISIS has to harm Islam.

The Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, who is said to be Egypt’s top religious authority condemned ISIS yesterday. Once again, his basis for doing so was that ISIS is damaging to Islam. The article I read did not contain a condemnation of the genocide.

If Public Catholic leaders know of Fatwas issued by Islamic religious leaders against the genocide in Iraq and Syria, please share the information and I will publish it.

At the same time that Islamic religious leaders are mostly silent on the genocide, Islamic political leaders have spoken out. The Arab League accused ISIS of crimes against humanity as regards the Yazidi. In another article, they were said to have called for the formation of a “national unity government” in Iraq. I have no idea what a “national unity government” might be, but I view it with suspicion. The article I read said nothing about the crimes against Christians. It may simply be an incomplete article.

In Australia, Samier Dandan, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, called the man whose little boy was photographed holding the head of a victim of ISIS, “a lunatic.”

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) issued a condemnation of the forced expulsion of Iraqi Christians. Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is said to be an influential Muslim religious leader, posted this condemnation on his website. “These are acts that violate Islamic laws, Islamic conscience and leave but a negative image of Islam and Muslims,” the statement said. “The Christians are native sons of Iraq and not intruders.”

Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperaton, which represents 57 countries and 1.4 billion Muslims, officially denounced “the forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” He said that ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the highest religious authority in Turkey, said that Muslims should not be hostile towards “people with different views, values and beliefs, and regard them as enemies.” This doesn’t sound like a Fatwa, but it is at least an Islamic religious leader, speaking on the general subject.

And finally, Indonesia has declared ISIS illegal. 

This response from Islamic leaders around the world is heartening. Decent people everywhere need to unite against these crimes against humanity, whoever does them, wherever they happen.

This roundup is informal in the extreme. I hope that Public Catholic readers will add information to it if they have it.

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UPDATE: For a survey of reaction against the Iraqi genocide in the Muslim press, go here.

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  • Elijah fan

    You’ve done an excellent service in reporting this.

  • http://4freedoms.com/profile/Kinana Kinana

    We hear such condemnations regularly from leaders in the Muslim world, particularly when a Muslim group commits acts of murder and mayhem. E.g. After September 11, 2011. But these murdering rampaging Muslims have the teachings of Islam on their side. They have the example of their leader Mohammed as their guide.

    None of the links provided offer a theological basis for the moderate or even the stronger condemnations. Islam allows for lying if it should benefit Islam. (E.g. Quran 4:38) and infamously Mohammed declared “War is deceit” (Bukhari (004.052.267))

    The political leaders are nervous about any movements that they cannot control, particularly ones based on their own religion.

  • Tom Billings

    No one should be surprised at a group of people being afraid to denounce the group now calling themselves “The Caliphate”, if they think those people might win, and let them continue in their positions, …if they do not denounce them! The political leaders know that at any time “The Caliphate” wins, they will lose all power to them, because any revival of the Caliphate is a revival of a Muslim copy of the Roman Empire of Constantinople, with the same pretensions to world-wide rule.

    So, that Muslim politicians denounce “The Caliphate” is no surprise, …and the religious leaders who might be able to live with them *not* denouncing them should be no surprise, either. Certainly, as long as the US refuses to focus, for the last 18 years, on core of all the Islamist ideology, the revival of “The Caliphate”, they have good reason to hedge their bets.

  • Shia Muslim

    Even though I’m a Shia Muslim, and even though ISIS (or the Islamic State or whatever they call themselves these days) consider me a heretic/apostate, I still feel very, very ashamed at the genocidal actions of ISIS towards the Christians and Yazidis in the name of my Prophet. Apart from the horrific killing, torture and general oppression inflicted upon these innocent communities, I find it tragic that for the first time in 1,400 years, Mosul and northern Iraq (not to mention parts of Syria) have been emptied of their native Christian sons and daughters.

    Regarding Ayatollah Sistani’s June Fatwa (legal ruling) opposing ISIS, this was not a call to arms for Shia Muslims to fight Sunni Muslims. It was a call for all Iraqi…”Citizens (irrespective of sect or religion) to defend the country, its people, the honor of its citizens, and its sacred places.” Some more details may be found in the following article on the Huffington Post by Luay Al Khateeb, a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre:

    Currently, Christian refugees are being housed in the Holy Cities (to us Shias) of Najaf and Karbala:


  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    “But Islam also says to only trangress those who have transgressed against you, and if they stop, then you must stop.”

    Someday I need to find a scholar who will discuss with me which is better- to transgress against those who have transgressed against us, or to pray for them and love them.